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2005:Year of Disasters

Yes, I know that the Tsunami wasn’t in 2005 but it’s ramifications certainly had a huge impact on this year and obvious comparisons are inevitable.

Boxing Day 2004 saw a huge earthquake strike off the coast of Indonesia causing a massive Tsunami which impacted as far away as Africa. The main carnage took place in the Eastern Indian Ocean and the final official death toll stands at a whopping ¼ million.

The disaster was captured on digi cams, mobile phones and video cameras and the shocking scenes seared their way into our consciences world wide. The public reaction around the World was stunning and in the end the UN had to call a halt to the fund raising. A fantastic example of world wide Solidarity?


Next came Katrina which I wrote about at the time. The disgusting media coverage made me sick to the stomach and showed the world what a dysfunctional screwed up society the US really is. Summed up by two pictures. One showed a black guy wading with a bin liner of food and was titled “Looter”. The other showed a white woman in the same situation but she was “Foraging for food for her kids”.

The stereotype of the scary black man was perpetuated by this disaster as all sorts of rumours were spread as fact by Fox News (and thus Sky) including allegations of black men raping white girls in the superdome. Why is it always about the black guy as a sexual predator with the compulsory enormous cock? There is not one shred of evidence but it does show the in grained racism that exists in White America. The average back guy has an income of just over half that of his white counterpart and 81% of Black Americans admit to never having had a conversation with a white person that didn’t involve being given orders. Scary.

However the disaster made Venezuela a net EXPORTER of aid to the US. Chavez must be over the moon!


Then in October a massive quake struck Kashmir, mainly affecting the Pakistani area. The destruction was of biblical proportions and as it stands 80,000 lost their lives.

Mind you I’m going on reports from the Guardian as we have hardly seen any pictures. In addition the amount raised from private donations is miniscule and the Brits were very slow to get any sort of aid out there. Given that there are thousands of British people affected by this event the Governments response has been scandalous.

Oh, I forgot. “They aren’t REALLY Brits at all old chap. Pakis you see. Not OUR sort at all. Not even Christians don’t you know.”

“Well you are wrong there for a start. They are more C of E people in Pakistan than in the UK so there.”

“Ah well… not white are they?”

And therein lies the rub. The Tsunami struck in areas where there were thousands of white, well off tourists and we were fed all the “horror” stories of nicely scrubbed beautiful people. Don’t get me wrong. The reaction is fully justified and we should be shocked but all I’m saying is the values of the West don’t include empathy for others unless it’s starving black babies. A disaster that affects poor non white adults just doesn’t impact on the minds of the West.

We gave £30 to the Tsunami. Have we given to the Earth Quake? Errrr no. No excuses.

Just haven’t and I bet there are lots like us


About dermotrathbone

Writer and co author "Through Red Lenses". Activist Unite the Union, Save Our NHS Hull. Fan of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Hull FC, Munster and Ireland Rugby. Views are mine alone and may not reflect the organisations concerned.


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